When people know you have lost a baby they assume you want to be a midwife because of that loss. After recounting my story of the loss of my baby and the many miscarriages I suffered in my quest to have a “rainbow baby” I shake my head when I am asked if I want to be a bereavement midwife. I have worked with bereavement midwives and I am in awe of them but I did not start this journey to become one. My aim to become a midwife and the reason I am now at university is rooted in my admiration for all women and every birth. I have heard midwives say they were “born” to be a midwife , their beautiful births led them to midwifery or their need to make birth better for other women has driven them to train. This makes me wonder ….
I definitely know that my journey did not begin because I wanted to emulate the midwives that cared for me in my loss , even though their kindness did make the time as bearable as it could be. It was little steps that took me to midwifery when I was looking for some light……..
The steps began after I had my third son , he was my delight but I continued to grieve for my dad and the little boy I had lost and some days were still very dark. I told my baby everyday that he was healing my heart. Which now seems a great responsibility for a little baby but he seemed to know that I needed him as much as he needed me. Breastfeeding him was easy and he was a weight in my arms that I never felt I wanted to let go of. I joined a surestart and chatted to the public health midwife . I have always loved a good natter, she was kindness personified and I found myself telling her about my sadness. She listened and shared a few tears with me. She suggested doing a breastbuddies course to help other women. When I look back now I know she was trying to help me find a light , to find a path , to take a step and for that I will always be thankful to her. I eagerly took to the task of reading all I could about supporting mothers. I spoke to mothers , fathers and grandmothers about breastfeeding. It was a little step…..
A phone call on a sunny day from a midwife asking me to train to be a postnatal doula caring for vulnerable women was accepted with a little trepidation . I believe that feeling was there because it was another step into being another person. I was unsure of the light that was shining brighter in front of me. Most of the women did not know what a doula did but when they met me and I explained I would help them practically or be a listening ear they engaged. It was a challenging but a lovely journey to be with these women. I stepped a little closer….
So there came a time when I could no longer deny the fact that I had changed. I can say that the light was shining so much I needed to wear my sunglasses !. My eldest son started a conversation about what I planned to do when I grew up. Yes , he wanted to know what my real job was going to be. It was the push to my next step that I needed. I started a job as a maternity support worker (msw) which I loved from the very first moment. A car, train , tube then walk journey from my home that equated to at least a 16hr day when doing a 12 hr shift. I spent time with women and by that I mean women in all senses the women we cared for , the women in the families , the ward clerk , the domestic , the bounty lady , the obstetricians , the SHO’s and of course the midwives. Each shift I learnt something about women. I learnt about birth , families and support but most of all I realised that I wanted to try to become a midwife. I loved women , I admired women, I was astounded by birth and wanted to be “with woman”. I worked for 3yrs as an msw , completing a foundation degree in maternity support and gained courage to be me. I applied to do my midwifery degree and even with many moments of self doubt I managed to get a place at university ( but those interviews are a story for another day).
I stepped into the Midwifery light in September 2013 and the journey began…….